The Iowa Hawkeyes took to the road last night to try and shock everyone. They had the opportunity of knock off a top 5 team in the country, on the road, in one of the nation’s toughest environments.
Last night I watched the best half of Hawkeye basketball I’ve ever seen. The first half of the game between Iowa and the Iowa State Cyclones last night was one for the ages for the Hawkeyes.
Talented forward, Jarrod Uthoff, was unconscious from the field, the kid could not miss. He was hitting from inside and outside and the Cyclones just didn’t have an answer for him. On the flip side, the Cyclones were playing well, but they just couldn’t seem to keep themselves close because of the constant offense Uthoff provided. Iowa went into the locker room with a 14 point lead.
Now, if you’ve watched college basketball at all the last couple of years you’d know that there might not be a team in the country that’s better at coming back from being so far down than the Iowa State Cyclones. They constantly push the ball and they have four or five guys that can really light it up from behind the arc. So, if you’re a Hawkeye fan, you’re nowhere near comfortable.
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The second half started and the lead had ballooned to 20 with just over 16 minutes left to play, it looked as if maybe Iowa was shutting the door, but I think we’re all a little smarter than that.
Over the next 8 minutes or so the Cyclones went on a 22-7 run to shrink the lead to just five. All I could think was “here we go again.” Play continued and the Cyclones had it down to one with around 6 minutes left in the game and that forced Fran McCaffery to call a timeout.
With under two minutes left in the game, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope for the Hawkeyes and their fans, Iowa was holding an 8 point lead. After two Monte Morris free throws that cut the lead to 6 the teams went back and forth for a while before Morris found himself back at the line. This time, however, Morris missed the front end of his one-and-one and the Cyclones were forced to foul.
With Iowa not being anywhere close to the bonus, they had to take it out underneath and try to handle the Cyclones’ full court press that would be thrown their way. With around a minute left all the Hawkeyes needed to do was control the ball and make free throws and they would be heading home victorious. Well, the exact opposite happened. Iowa turned the ball over three times in the final minute of the game and didn’t score in the final 2:39 of the game. The Cyclones took advantage and would take the lead on a Morris floater with 10 seconds left in the game, 83-82 was now the score.
Iowa had enough time to get the ball to the front court, call timeout (they had one left), and set up a play for either Peter Jok or Uthoff. Instead McCaffery opted to let his players play and the Hawkeyes got a fade away three pointer from Uthoff that fell short and Iowa headed home on the losing end.
I don’t know how many times we’ve seen this. Iowa has a timeout, they don’t call it, and end up getting a horrible shot. Iowa’s late game execution is horrible and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. That’s been the only knock on McCaffery as he’s brought this team back from the dead.
Uthoff finished with a game high 32 points, while Jok chipped in 18. On the flip side, Jameel McKay finished his night with 20 points.
Iowa will have to sit on this one awhile as they will have to wait until December 19th to take the court again. When they do so it will be in Des Moines as a part of the Big Four Classic. Iowa will take on Drake at 3:30 p.m. CT.